For would-be homebuyers willing to consider a change of scenery, the rise of remote work and likelihood that the work patterns established in 2020 will continue long after the COVID-19 pandemic has (hopefully) faded into history could mean they will have a chance at homeownership – at least if they are willing to relocate for it. According to data from real estate brokerage Redfin, just under one-third of all users on the website were considering a move to a different metro area this past January. That is the highest share of users considering relocation that Redfin has ever identified since it started tracking the metric four years ago. The metric is also up from just over a quarter of users looking to relocate a year prior.
According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the biggest factor in the relocation decision for homebuyers is affordability in the market. Since about one-third of homebuyers are first-time buyers, they tend to be millennials between the ages of 25 and 34, also referred to as “junior millennials” by some sociologists. NAR researchers said there are six factors that make a market attractive to first-time buyers, including:
- Relatively affordable housing prices (based on local median income)
- The existing population of 25- to 34-year-olds living in the area already
- Availability of homes (housing attainability)
- Employment options
- Distance to work (if remote working is not an option)
- Access to amenities like bars and restaurants
It will come as little surprise to anyone living in the Savannah, Georgia, area that the city was included in the list of places that might be particularly attractive to first-time homebuyers, including those not working remotely. The city ranked sixth on the list, which Realtor.com limited to one city per state in order to “increase geographic diversity.” Savannah also boasts the highest share of adults aged 25-34 on the list, with this population accounting for just under 17 percent of the total local population.
Although the Savannah housing market has been red hot in recent months, it still also scored well for housing attainability – at least on a relative scale. The city placed third for its volume of listings available: 12.1 listings for every 1,000 households. Only Schenectady, New York (18 listings for every 1,000 households); and Iowa City, Iowa (13.3 listings for every 1,000 households) had more.